Sailing the Mekong River since 2012, the Viking Mekong is part of the ever-expanding Viking River Cruises fleet of contemporary, relaxed and inspiring vessels that provide its guests with astounding opportunities to visit far-flung corners of the world, including Vietnam and Cambodia. Built specifically to navigate the Mekong River, the Viking Mekong is a small and intimate river cruise ship that appeals on so many levels, from the beautifully-appointed staterooms and public areas to the beautiful cuisine and enticing Viking Culture Curriculum that offers up opportunities both onboard and off.
The Viking Mekong can accommodate 56 guests, with staterooms located across the Upper and Middle Decks. The intimate nature of the cruise ensures all guests can enjoy impeccable hospitality, with an almost 2:1 passenger to crew ratio. Crew are English-speaking too, which can help guests to enjoy the facilities and region, without crucial information getting lost in translation.
The majority of travellers who choose to sail with Viking River Cruises are from the USA, with other guests from Australia, the UK and Canada making up the mix. Most are well-travelled and mature, with a keen interest in culture, history and immersing themselves in enriching activities and excursions.
There is one restaurant onboard, situated on the Middle Deck, which is casual and relaxed thanks to the lack of formal dress code and open seating arrangement. Guests can still enjoy sophisticated vibes though, due to the beautiful décor and high quality tableware – from the fresh white table linens to the gleaming cutlery and crystal glassware. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow guests to appreciate the breathtaking views as they dine, with breakfast and lunch being served in a simple but delicious buffet format, and dinner being a waiter-served five-course gourmet meal.
The chefs onboard aim to provide a perfect mix of crowd-pleasing dishes as well as authentic local fare, prepared onboard from fresh and seasonal ingredients. The complimentary drinks with lunch and dinner, including regional wines, beers, soft drinks and water, are a welcome bonus!
The Lounge is the main social hub onboard, with most guests choosing to enjoy after-dinner drinks, conversation and music here as evening draws in. The full-service bar provides a range of thirst-quenching drinks, and the in-house pianist will provide background music every evening. Occasionally, local acts are invited onboard to showcase their talents, including folkloric performances in Phnom Penh.
Guests also enjoy the chance to mingle and dress up for the welcome cocktail reception and dinner, and the farewell dinner towards the end of the cruise.
The Viking Culture Curriculum ensures all guests who book with Viking can enjoy a range of captivating and immersive activities and experiences, which complement the destinations that the itinerary offers perfectly. Onboard the Viking Mekong, guests can enjoy presentations on topics such as Cambodian history and current affairs in Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as movie screenings of L’Amant (The Lover) which prepares guests for a visit to Sa Dec, and The Quiet American which was set in Saigon. There is also a library and a boutique to browse, and the complimentary Wi-Fi and computers are perfect for staying in touch with loved ones back home.
Onshore, the fantastic itinerary fillers that guests can enjoy will inspire, enrich and amaze. Guided walking tours (fully escorted, with the use of individual audio headsets) and excursions will help guests to appreciate the local area, including the opportunity to see areas that are seldom seen by Western travellers. Visit a local school in Angkor and learn how you can support a child’s education, enjoy a Cambodian Circus show filled with acrobatics, music and dance, receive a blessing by monks at the Udon Monastery, ride a traditional rickshaw in Tan Chau or attend an Aspara dance show in Siem Reap – the opportunities are unique and incredible.
Beautifully-appointed staterooms, decorated elegantly and with all mod-cons, are available for all guests who travel on the Viking Mekong. Twenty-eight staterooms are situated across the Upper and Middle Decks and divided into three categories – all of which boast outside river views and are 168 sq. ft. in size.
Amenities are the same across the three categories, and include floor-to-ceiling sliding door French balconies, hotel-style beds (with optional twin configuration), private bathroom with shower, ample storage space, climate control, safe, hairdryer and complimentary bottled water that is restocked daily.
The wraparound Sun Deck is a wonderful area of the ship for guests to head for when they have free time. Not only does it offer uninhibited panoramic views from all angles, but there are plenty of sunloungers and a shaded seating area where you can kick back and relax – a perfect place to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing.
The Viking Mekong focuses its attention fully on the Mekong River, and currently operates the 15 day ‘Magnificent Mekong’ cruise-tour itinerary which sails between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, and also travels to areas of Cambodia. The itinerary includes two nights in Hanoi, three nights in Siem Reap and two nights in Ho Chi Minh City, as well as 14 phenomenal guided tours, from the iconic UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh in Cambodia to the floating markets of the Mekong delta and the cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam.
Guests will meet their ship in Kampong Cham for the rest of the itinerary, which will visit Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Tan Chau (Vietnam) and Sa Dec (Vietnam). Pre- and post- extensions are also offered in Ha Long Bay and Bangkok, respectively.